To call this a “grown-up’s Twilight” would be, I am sure, very insulting to the author, Deborah Harkness, who wrote a lovely book, but there are parallels.
The protagonist is an old-soul-loner-who-does-not-feel-she-is-attractive-type who attracts the attention of a gorgeous-stylish-over-protective-very-old-vampire type. (Sound familiar?) However, this one is not for teenagers. It is a grown-up love story with a mystery.
The beginning is intellectual. Oxford, England with lots of historical references that will make you feel like googling them. The protagonist, Diana Bishop, is highly intelligent, athletic (she will make you feel lazy) and a strong person. She becomes allies with and then friends with a gorgeous vampire, Matthew Clairmont.
The author cheekily acknowledges what we ALL know about vampires – they are beyond beautiful, fast, strong, wealthy and hunger for blood. Slight pet peeve: yes, we all know that vampires are “cold”. Please quit working that into the descriptions – it pulls you right out! (She leaned her head on his hard, cold shoulder – why?? That sounds painful!) However, the author added in a lot of fun magic, enchantments, and witch powers. Plus, she threw in a whole, new spin on demons (not the Sunday School description). All of this with a mix of science, real history (Google like crazy), and fine wines in candlelit halls.
When the book gets really good (to me), is when Matthew takes Diana to France for her safety. (Must be nice to up and go from country to country without worrying about your job or bills!) Once in France, it becomes everything we love from books about falling in love with vampires: gothic, deeply romantic, forbidden love and the mystery grows. This section is very sigh-worthy as they realize how much they love each other. Ah, France …
The story gets slows down a bit when they head back to the United States but I realized later that is because the book is part of a trilogy (All Souls Trilogy).. Thank goodness! Otherwise, I would have been very disappointed by the introduction of characters and the main mystery that was left unfinished.
The mystery is not super-intriguing (yet) but the enchanting world of these characters is interesting and the love story is lovely.